Autonomous cars, robotic cars, drone cars - call them what you will, but the self-driving car is coming to a showroom near you.
It might take a couple of years - it might take a couple of decades - but few people at the Geneva Motor Show would disagree that one day science fantasy will become fact.
However, while the likes of Google, BMW, Ford and IBM work on the technology, less attention has been given to what it means for passengers.
The Swiss automotive think tank Rinspeed has tried to give one possible vision of this future with its Xchange concept car, being premiered at Geneva.
"I wanted to put the passenger at the centre of what is possible, not the autonomous driving technology," says Rinspeed's founder and chief executive Frank Rinderknecht.
"Travelling in a driverless car will no longer require me to stare at the road, but will let me spend my time in a more meaningful way.
"The question then arises, would I like to work, to sleep, to read, to do whatever activities you might do on a train, a plane?
"I wanted to start thinking about how autonomous cars would 'move' people, and not just in the literal sense."
Swivel, tilt, slide
Rinspeed has taken a four-seater saloon and reconfigured the interior into something that would not look out of place inside a small private jet.
Except - and this was the real challenge - it is all done in a standard-sized car, in this case an electric Tesla Model S.
"It would have been easier in a van or stretch limousine, obviously," says Frank Rinderknecht.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Autonomous Vehicles - What would riding in one be like?
The BBC reports on the Geneva Motor Show to show passengers' view of driverless cars. (4 March 2014 / Russell Hotten)